Motivational and inspirational writer, Bryan Hutchinson is the author of several books about life with ADHD including the highly acclaimed, best selling "One Boy′s Struggle: A Memoir" and the author of the hilarious eBook that went viral "10 Things I Hate about ADHD"

Think Outside The Box

 

Young adults with ADHD are described in many ways and here are some of the most common: Naïve, stubborn, immature, wet behind the ears, green, lazy, and flakey, stupid or dumb and there are some other condescending terms which are supposed to be positive, but because of the already mentioned terms, these following are not always intended to be positive: insightful, bright, go-getter and has potential – these terms are usually positive; however, when using them to refer to someone with ADHD they usually are followed by, ‘but if he or she could just get their act together’.

Is ADHD caused by the food we eat? You know the additives and stuff. Is it cause by antibiotics or is it caused by heavy metals? In the last year I have had the opportunity to talk to a lot of people with ADHD and those who treat ADHD and it seems to me that ADHD has always been around, but in the last quarter century it has become a problem. Why? Things have changed a lot in the last 25 or 50 years and things have been changing longer than that. One of the things missing from today’s society is mentorships and apprenticeships. Yes, we still have those, but only the words and not the way mentorship and apprenticeship used to be – I guess what we have today is more of an abbreviation, a short attempt at capturing the real thing and calling it the real thing.

In the old days before the technological revolution young adults, not yet in their teens, were already working and training in a certain trades under the instructions of a master of whichever trade. These young adults chosen to be mentored were insightful, bright, go-getters and had lots of obvious potential. They were the sought after group and were not considered to be outcasts or of having a disorder. Yes, they were disordered and quick, maybe even hyper, but that was just because they were wittier than most and wanted to learn more and more. Some of these young adults did grand things before they turned 20 and even Alexander the Great had accomplished what he would be remembered for before he died at the young age of 32. Think about that a moment. Alexander the great was never defeated in battle and had conquered most of ancient Greeks before many people finish their advanced degrees in today’s world.

In today’s world children are not usually allowed to explore their talents and traits. They receive mentorship only if they are lucky and not in the form true mentorship was. The kids who once would have been sought after for specialized education and training are now told to sit still and learn with all the rest at the same pace and in the same manners. And worse still they are considered outcasts which must be medicated to conform and are taught that they have a disorder which is destructive and useless.

Does the above seem obvious? The world is slowly losing its inventors and creators and we are calling it ADHD. Yes, ADHD does exist; I am not arguing that it doesn’t – this is: What if? I mean, what has been invented in the last years, what diseases have we overcome and cured? Yes, we have advanced on things already invented, modified and upgraded. In the first part of the last century the new world was inventing, overcoming and creating and then what happened? We became civilized and created standard school systems and without papers from these standardized classes to prove we had received the ‘proper’ education one cannot find decent work. Two of the biggest companies of the modern era come from two people who had to drop out of school and if they had stayed the course of what is perceived as ‘correct’ education, the modern computer may never have been developed, much less become a ‘home’ computer.

Proper and standard education has its benefits and is not a bad thing, it’s just that it is not for everyone and yet it is a requirement for everyone – or else you will be a failure. That’s what we are taught. I was talking to someone the other day who was upset with himself that he could not think outside the box, he wrote me for some suggestion ideas to use in school. He’s getting ready to graduate. Isn’t that something? Thinking outside the box is a common term for brainstorming and coming up with fresh ideas, but how can a generation taught specifically to live ‘within’ the box come up with anything ‘outside’ the box?

Many adults with ADHD today never really find their way. They are lost in a world of rules and standards of which it is very hard for them to conform to. Their frustration is taken out on family and friends and they feel isolated and alone. Most have made it through the school system by a hair, if they made it and some did well in the school system, but all feel a sense of not really belonging. In my opinion some are lost simply because they never discovered their natural gifts, because whatever their gift may have been it had been suppressed in order to conform. Whenever you find an ADDer doing something he or she loves, you find someone living a life of wonder and is successful in their own way.

I have talked a lot about how therapy helped me through my struggles and find myself. My development as a pool player had as much to do with who I am today too – maybe even more. In recent blogs I have started talking a little more about my development as a pool player and what that meant to me and how it helped me overall. However, there is another way of describing what I am trying to get across by talking about a well known movie “The Color of Money”.

After watching “The Color of Money” time and time again I am convinced that Vince, played by Tom Cruise has ADHD and so does Fast Eddie, played by Paul Newman. Scorsese was describing the makeup of some of the great pool players and how they came into their prime through the characters Vince and Fast Eddie, so he may or may not have known that he was providing a very clear view into how someone with ADHD might act and react. I will describe what I see in Vince and his transformation through the movie in my next post. “The Color of Money” is also a great demonstration of what it is like for someone with great talent trapped inside the box and has a very difficult time grasping what is outside the box. If you have the chance please watch “The Color of Money” before you read my post about it. You will enjoy and get more out of it that way.

 

“you couldn’t find big time if you had a road map.” Fast Eddie telling Vince in The Color of Money.

~Bryan

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